CEOs from 32 of the country’s leading energy and utilities employers have launched a sector “Inclusion Commitment” that is a long-term commitment to attract more “diverse and inclusive talent” into their industry.
The Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, led by sector employers, recognised in its Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy: 2020 that its current workforce fails to fully represent the 65 million people it serves every day.
83% of the sector’s workforce are male, compared to 47% for all sectors nationally. Women, people with disabilities, the BAME (black, Asian, and minority ethnic) community and under 24s have traditionally been under-represented in the energy and utilities sector, compared to national averages.
To tackle this challenge, and to build a resilient workforce for the future, 32 leading employers have committed themselves to drive change and work collaboratively to attract, recruit and retain a more diverse talent to the sector. Employers include waste firms Veolia, Viridor and Amey.
David McLoughlin, Managing Director of Utilities at Amey, said: “Ensuring Amey is an attractive and inclusive place to work is really important to us. We were the first company in our sector to achieve Leaders in Diversity status for our work in this area, however we know there is still more we can do.
“A wider range of experience and a more diverse workforce will help us deliver services that better respond to the needs of the communities in which we work. We’re delighted to be supporting the Energy and Utilities Skills Partnership inclusion commitment to help our business and the industry change.”
Employing around 566,000 people across the UK, the sector will need over 221,000 new recruits to fill its expected skills gap by 2027.
The commitment will challenge the sector to act and think differently and aims to inspire and connect with underrepresented groups, attracting new talent and ideas into the energy and utilities sector.
It is underpinned by five principles that commit to working collaboratively and sharing best practice, whilst creating an inclusive culture that enables the sector to “attract, recruit and develop our people in a way where progress can be measured and transparent”.
Nick Ellins, Chief Executive, Energy & Utility Skills Group said: “Through the inaugural skills strategy, led by the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, the UK’s utilities and their contractors have set out their ambition to enhance the diversity of their workforces and be ever more inclusive.
“This new commitment is a framework. It starts the collective action to help the sector workforce better mirror the communities it serves and secure the unquestionable benefits that result from having vibrant, truly inclusive and diverse teams.”
Proactively working with and attracting under-represented talent will be crucial to ensuring a resilient, future-proofed workforce that is a vital part of improving UK productivity and growth, the Group says.
Government will invest more than £425 bn (billion) in over 600 major projects across the UK (to 2020/21 and beyond). Nearly half the projects in this pipeline are assigned to electricity, gas, water & sewerage, and waste, making the energy and utilities sector the largest single contributor to government’s UK infrastructure strategy.